Top 100 Manufacturers Analysis
For an industry plagued by predictions of doom and gloom, it certainly offers tremendous opportunities for growth and success to those who can remain flexible and adaptable. Sales figures for the top 100 manufacturers added up to a whopping $2.97 billion for the last fiscal year completed. And, while this is only a slight increase from the previous year’s grand total of $2.92 billion, it was achieved despite sharply increasing costs for raw materials, postage and fuel. Marketplace demand for printed products, it seems, is on the rise—a trend documented in several key industry studies.
Dr. Joe Webb, director of Lexington, Kentucky-based WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center, reported printing industry profits for the last four quarters, Q3-2006 to Q2-2007, were $5.15 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis, compared to the same period a year ago, when profits were only $3.86 billion—a 23.4 percent increase.
In addition, a recent annual survey of leading American creative professionals conducted by New York-based Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) and sponsored by MAN Roland, Westmont, Ill., revealed the percentage of designers working in print is increasing. Gordon Kaye, GDUSA publisher, said respondents view print as more “trustworthy and credible” than other media, and believe its very “tangibility and permanence” connote a sense of authenticity.
And, according to the just-completed 2007 Ratios Survey conducted by PIA/GATF, headquartered in Pittsburgh, printing industry profits increased slightly over the past year, reflecting the rates of the mid- to late-1990s. The average pre-tax profit on sales was 3.4 percent for the typical Ratios participant this past year—which is within the 3.0 percent to 3.4 percent range experienced from 1995 to 2001—compared to 2.7 percent for 2006.
Obviously, factors to bear in mind when interpreting the sales figure are the ongoing consolidations skewing the landscape from year to year, and respondents reporting idiosyncrasies. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, print still makes the business world go round, despite inroads by electronic media.
Related story: Top 100 Manufacturers Chart